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FARC rebels blamed for deadly Bogota bombing

  • Story Highlights
  • Explosion in upscale Bogota neighborhood kills two people and wounds 20
  • Colombian President Alvaro Uribe condemns FARC rebel group for blast
  • Eleven pounds of explosives reportedly used in front of Blockbuster video store
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BOGOTA, Colombia (CNN) -- Colombian officials are blaming the FARC guerrilla group for an explosion in an upscale Bogota neighborhood Tuesday night that killed two people and wounded 20.

Police inspect one of two dead bodies after an explosion Tuesday night in Bogota, Colombia.

Police inspect one of two dead bodies after an explosion Tuesday night in Bogota, Colombia.

President Alvaro Uribe, who is in France, issued a statement expressing sorrow for "the new terrorist attempt against Bogota" and accusing FARC of hypocrisy for talking about human rights while setting off lethal bombs.

FARC, the Spanish acronym for Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, is the largest and oldest revolutionary group in Colombia.

"Let us always remember that Bogota cries but will never give up," Uribe's statement said.

The blast occurred around 9 p.m. at a Blockbuster video rental store in an exclusive neighborhood in northern Bogota, causing major damage to the building, most notably the parking lot. Debris was scattered for more than a block, and nearby buildings and cars also were damaged.

Senior presidential aide Fabio Valencia Cossio said 11 pounds of explosives were used, El Espactador newspaper reported.

A female passer-by and the store's parking lot attendant were killed in the blast, Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos told the newspaper. Another newspaper, El Tiempo, said the woman was about 25 years old and was carrying notebooks and books, so authorities believe she was a university student.

Police said they were looking into a tip that the bombing might have been part of a FARC extortion attempt, said Radio Caracol, citing presidential aide Valencia.

Blockbuster has been complaining to authorities for months that criminals who said they were associated with FARC had been demanding money, news reports said.

In his statement from France, Uribe referred to FARC "combining extortion with terror."

There was an explosion at another Blockbuster store in the Colombian capital a year ago.

Authorities are offering the equivalent of $50,000 for information that would lead to an arrest.

The explosion occurred in an neighborhood known for posh restaurants and nightclubs.

Ricardo Serrano described to El Tiempo how he felt a loud explosion and the immediate confusion that ensued.

"People were running from one place to another," he told the newspaper. "There were a lot of sirens and police."

Angel Alberto Arias, a doorman at a nearby building, told El Tiempo, "I felt like the whole building was going to come down on top of me."

FARC has about 9,000 to 12,000 armed guerillas and several thousand supporters, mostly in rural areas, according to security analysts.

The guerrilla group was established in 1964 as the military wing of the Colombian Communist Party.

The guerrillas operate mostly in Colombia but have carried out extortion, kidnappings and other activities in Venezuela, Panama and Ecuador, according to the Federation of American Scientists Intelligence Resource Program.

Fernando Ramos and Toby Muse contributed to this report for CNN.

All About Bogota (Colombia)ColombiaFARCAlvaro Uribe

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